Apple: Quietly Bowing Out of Home Entertainment?

Apple: Quietly Bowing Out of Home Entertainment? | Will Greenwald | PCMag.com (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-3705233-15', 'pcmag.com'); ga('send', 'pageview'); #related-container {display:none !important;}.reviewProducts{float:none;}.reviewProducts ul li h3 {word-break:normal !important;}#rr-email-su,#feature-program{margin:0 0 22px 0;}#subscribe-pcmag{margin:0 0 30px 0;}#google-afc{margin:15px 0 23px 0;}div.ad415{margin:8px 0 21px 0;}div.ad416{margin:0px;} #colorbox, #cboxOverlay, #cboxWrapper {position:absolute; top:0; left:0; z-index:2147483645; overflow:hidden;border-radius:6px;} #cboxOverlay {position:fixed; width:100%; height:100%;} #cboxMiddleLeft, #cboxBottomLeft {clear:left;} #cboxContent {position:relative;-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 0px 0px 0px rgba(0,0,0,0.75) ;-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 0px 0px 0px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);box-shadow: inset 0px 0px 0px 0px rgba(0,0,0,0.75);} #cboxLoadedContent {overflow:auto; } #cboxTitle {margin:0;} #cboxLoadingOverlay, #cboxLoadingGraphic {position:absolute; top:0; left:0; width:100%;} #cboxPrevious, #cboxNext, #cboxClose, #cboxSlideshow {cursor:pointer;} .cboxPhoto {float:left; margin:auto; border:0; display:block;} .cboxIframe {width:100%; height:100%; display:block; border:0;} #cboxOverlay {background:#000;opacity:0.5 !important;} #colorbox {} #cboxContent {background:none; overflow:visible;} #cboxTitle {position:absolute; bottom:-25px; left:0; text-align:center; width:100%; font-weight:bold; color:#7C7C7C;} #cboxCurrent {position:absolute; bottom:-25px; left:58px; font-weight:bold; color:#7C7C7C;} #cboxClose {position:absolute;top:5px;right:10px;width:23px;height:22px;background:url(/img/ss_close.png) no-repeat 0px 0px; text-indent:-9999px;} document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https://sb" : "http://b") + ".scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js' %3E%3C/script%3E")); COMSCORE.beacon({ c1:2, c2:6885615, c3:"", c4:"", c5:"", c6:"", c15:"" }); .box {clear:both;} #disqus_thread {clear:both;} News / Opinions/ Features / Deals / How-To/ Business/ Subscribe #trending-box{ width:525px; float:left; display:none; position:absolute; top:35px; right:0px; height:160px;}#search-box{ float:left; width:503px; background:#E4363A; border:1px solid #BA0408; padding:10px 10px 12px;}#search-box ul{ list-style:none; margin:0px; padding:0px 10px; width:145px; float:left; height:130px; border-left:1px solid rgba(255,255,255, .2); border-right:1px solid #d11014;}#search-box ul li{ padding:3px 0; width:145px;}#search-box ul li strong{ padding:3px 0; width:145px; font:13px 'open_sansbold_italic', sans-serif; color:#700406;}#search-box ul li a{ font:13px 'open_sansbold', sans-serif; color:#ffffff;}#search-box ul li a:hover{ text-decoration:underline;} Top Searches Apple Watch iPhone Apps Best Antivirus Best Router Trending Apple iPhone 6 Apple iOS 8 Connected Home Best Android Apps Hot Reviews Motorola Moto 360 DestinyApple MacBook Pro Nikon D810 All Reviews Laptops Tablets Phones cameras hdtvs gaming desktops printers monitors storage ipad apps iPhone Apps android apps software security networking Routers servers scanners projectors Wearables Health & Fitness Digital Home cars speakers headphones mp3 players ebook readers all categories editors' choice Laptops / Tablets / Phones / Apps / Software / Security / Printers / Cameras / HDTVs Home/ Reviews/ Consumer Electronics/ HDTVs & Home Theater/ Media Hubs & Receivers/ Apple: Quietly Bowing Out of Home Entertainment? Apple: Quietly Bowing Out of Home Entertainment? By Will Greenwald October 17, 2014 Comments With hardly a word, Apple is seemingly leaving the world of "things you plug into your home theater." 0shares Apple TV Rumors VIEW ALL PHOTOS IN GALLERY

Yesterday afternoon, everyone in the PC Labs watched the new Apple announcements. We gathered around the glow of an HDTV and listened to Tim Cook's iPad and iMac presentation, like a modern-day FDR fireside chat straight from an Apple TV.

That's because the Apple TV is two years old and we've gone through another double-barreled blast of autumnal Apple announcements without an Apple TV refresh. Meanwhile, Google just announced (with far, far less fanfare than the horns of Cupertino) its Nexus Player media hub.

I've said before that Apple is in no way planning a new Apple TV in the shape of a literal HDTV with Apple technology built inside. But it's time to go further with that statement. Apple is gracefully bowing out of the home entertainment business entirely.

There won't be a new Apple TV. We won't see an Apple version of Chromecast . There won't be any Apple products in your living room in the future besides the iPad on the coffee table and the iPhone in your pocket.

Apple TV (2012) : AngleApple TV (2012) : AngleApple TV (2012) : PortsApple TV (2012) : MoviesApple TV (2012) : NetflixApple TV (2012) : RadioApple TV (2012) : PhotosVIEW ALL PHOTOS IN GALLERY

A few years ago, Apple was an aristocrat of high-end home entertainment. The Apple TV offered online services including Apple's own impressive iTunes store at a time when HDTVs didn't regularly feature similar options built in and you couldn't add everything you wanted by plugging a $50 stick into the back of your display. iTunes represented the awkward pinnacle of wireless sound systems with far better audio quality than Bluetooth and a far higher price point to match. Nearly everyone had an Apple device plugged into a speaker dock because Apple invented the speaker dock market.

Well, things have changed and Apple has failed to keep up. The Apple TV has languished, without an update and with a feature set that seems increasingly paltry compared to Android and Roku devices and the built-in systems on many mid-range HDTVs. It's now been two years, and we've passed the seasonal deluge of Apple announcements that would have heralded an Apple TV update. Nothing was revealed with the iPhone 6, and nothing was revealed with the iPad Air 2.

OpinionsHonestly, I'm a little surprised. I would have expected Apple to announce at least an iOS-oriented take on the Google Chromecast, if only to remind people how cool it is to stream your smartphone or tablet screen to your HDTV. Nope, nothing.

Without a new Apple TV to go against the Roku 2 or the Nexus Player or the Fire TV , it seems that Apple is ceding control of HDTVs to the rest of the industry. It's not just the televisions Apple seems to be abandoning, though. The company is leaving the entire home theater segment on the table, and only picking at a few home audio scraps.

AirPlay might have once been the biggest name in wireless high-fidelity audio, and speaker docks might have once been the go-to option for playing your digital music collection at home. Well, Bluetooth caught up with audio quality thanks to newer standards and profiles like aptX, and the 30-pin connector and its stout, sturdy clasp have disappeared in favor of the more convenient but less dock-friendly Lightning connector. You might be able to plug Lightning in no matter how you flip it, but you wouldn't trust the weight of your iPad to be borne by tiny tab of metal.

Now if you want wireless audio, you use Bluetooth. If you want wireless multi-room audio, you use Sonos, SoundTouch, Play-Fi, or any of a handful of other Wi-Fi-based music options that work with iOS and Android and lack the significant mark-up of AirPlay certification. Apple has not kept up.

Apple review, Apple commentary, Apple news... Everything AppleOf course, Apple never really needed the home entertainment segment, and it's clear from its strategy over the last few years that it hasn't been interested in keeping it. The big cash cows are still iOS devices, so why bother with Apple TV? Apple never actually made AirPlay speakers to begin with, either; it's a licensed technology that's simply falling out of favor. For Apple, it's not a big deal.

Well, there is the iTunes Store. Of course, it's a story where music is wildly more popular than video, where you can still stream audio to any speaker through Bluetooth, and where tons and tons of people use it. It's massive, and doesn't need help anymore. Plus, with services like Netflix and Hulu Plus seeming to eclipse on-demand services like iTunes by miles, it just isn't nearly as valuable to Apple anymore. Everyone will still amass huge iTunes music collections and play them on their iPhones and iPads, and stream them to their Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers.

From a business perspective, it's perfectly reasonable. However, it's pretty terrible in terms of customer service. Apple won't open iTunes to other devices and ecosystems because Apple simply doesn't do that. That means if you have a huge collection of movies and shows on iTunes, you better find and hold on to an Apple TV from 2012, or get used to running a cable from your iPhone, iPad, or computer to your HDTV. Music might be easy to stream to any speaker you can think of, but video on iTunes is guarded entirely by the now-rusting gate that is Apple TV. 

Which Apple won't be updating anymore.

VIEW ALL PHOTOS IN GALLERY Back to top Previous : The Death of Terrestrial Broadcasting Is Nigh $39 Amazon Fire TV Stick; New Fitbit Trackers; Legere Explai... Next : Will Greenwald By Will Greenwald Analyst, Consumer Electronics

Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for more than six years, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. Since graduating from Syracuse University in 2005, Will has been an active technology journalist both online and in print. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PCMag.com labs, focusing on Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and other home theater equipment. ... More »

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